How connected do you feel to your partner?

This is an important question for at least two reasons:

• Connection is the glue that holds a relationship together. You can be miles away and feel connected to someone, just like you can be inches away and feel disconnected from someone.

• Connection is not a state that is achieved and then left alone. Connection is a state that does not stand still. You are either growing more connected or you are growing disconnected.

The problem with answering the question how connected do you feel is that we are trying to measure what is essentially immeasurable.

Having said that, now I am going to provide you with a tool to measure your level of connection and how to increase it.

For each of these 5 steps, we are going to be using a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least connection and 10 being the most connected.

Step 1 – How connected do you feel to our partner at the present time? What are the current factors that have you feeling this level of connection?

Step 2 – What’s the worst it has ever been? What was happening that made it the worst at that time? If the current level is higher than the worst level, what did you do to get to where you are now?

Step 3 – What is the absolute best it has ever been? Again, what was happening then that made it so good?

Step 4 – What would you like the level of connection to be (scale of 1 to 10)?

Step 5 – Let’s say right now the connection level is a 5, the worst it has ever been is a 2, the best it has ever been is a 9, and you would like it to be a 9 again. Take the number of what you would like the connection level to be (9) and subtract from it the number of where it is now (5). Nine minus 5 equals 4.

You have four levels of connection to cover. The trap is to try to cover all four levels in one shot. It usually does not happen, and can set you up for failure and disappointment.

When we break it down to one level at a time, it becomes much more manageable. What will it take to move from level 5 to 6? After that, 6 to 7 and so on.

Remember, you are either growing closer (more connected) or growing apart (more disconnected). Using this tool can give you a map for how to get connected again and how to stay that way.

Jeff Herring, MS, LMFT, is a marriage and family therapist.


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